Goalkeeper declined Hendon move to sign for Wealdstone

PUBLISHED: 18:49 25 July 2012

Wealdstone fans

Wealdstone fans

Copyright - © Steve Foster/Wealdstone FC 2012. You do NOT have permission to use this image unless it is properly accredited.

Wealdstone goalkeeper Rikki Banks has revealed that he turned down the offer of a third spell at Hendon to sign for the Stones this summer.

Banks ended last season on loan at Vale Farm from Eastbourne Borough and could have made the move permanent, but the 24-year-old opted for Gordon Bartlett’s side instead.

The Stones’ achievements last season, when they reached the FA Trophy semi-finals and narrowly missed out on promotion, convinced Banks that this was the best opportunity for him to ‘reboot’ his career.

“I had a good reputation and during the last couple of years that’s dipped. This is not make or break, but hopefully I can get myself going again and go back to the high standards I set myself,” explained Banks, who spent an initial loan period with Hendon as a teenager.

“I had a couple of offers – I could have gone to Hendon with [manager] Gary [McCann] again and to be fair, he’s brilliant. I love the club and what they’ve done there, so it was a tough decision for me.

“But I’ve got to fight my way back to where I should be. Wealdstone are the best team I’ve played against in this league, they’ve got ambitions for this year and I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve seen.

“With the players we’ve got here, we’ve got enough to do what they did last season and I want to be in a winning side. I spoke to Gordon over the summer and it really was a no-brainer.”

Banks is now dealing with the tricky task of filling the shirt vacated by Stones’ popular number one Jonathan North, who broke his leg against Canvey Island in March and is expected to be out until at least Christmas.

But the new signing made an immediate impression on his Stones debut, producing classy stops to deny Joe Garner and Matt Whichelow in their 1-1 draw against Watford in Saturday’s friendly.

That performance earned Banks the man of the match award and he reflected: “It was a good run-out and I was happy with it, especially in the second half when we had a bit more possession.

“We didn’t get totally outplayed like people probably thought we would and it was nice to have a decent first game. It’s always tough when someone like Northy gets injured and I knew that.

“But to have two keepers like us is good for everyone. When Northy does come back and starts training, that’s going to push both of us to higher standards.”

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